Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

terming it " unreasonable and provocative."* Russia., as it was known,
was in no way connected with any international organisation and, from
the first, there were doubts as to whether Moscow would recognise any
investigation made by the International Red Cross as being the " absolute
guarantee of impartiality." Pravda wrote :
" The Polish leaders, have fallen into the trap of Goebbels' provoca-
teurs and thus,, in effect, have supported the lying tricks and libellous
inventions of the executioners of the Polish people." The Soviet News
Agency, Toss,, went even further. And in the statement published on
April 20, they said: c< The fact that the anti-Soviet campaign began
simultaneously in the German and Polish Press and is proceeding on the
same plane, enables us to presume that this anti-Soviet campaign is
carried out by preliminary agreement between the German invaders and
the Polish pro-Hitler turncoats from General SikorskFs ministerial circles."
On the following day the International Red Cross declined the Polish
request, since one of the parties concerned, i.e., Moscow, was opposed to
any investigation. Thus for the time being the problem of the fate of
these thousands of Polish officers was left unsolved, or at any rate further
investigation was closed to the Polish Government. Up to that date the
British Press had made few comments, preferring rather to wait, and it
seemed as if the affair was to make little stir after all in the camp of the
United Nations. But the Kremlin's intentions were otherwise and if, in
the first days of the Katyn affair, they had limited themselves to denials
and to producing other explanations of this tragedy, the Soviet Govern-
ment now attacked the Poles so violently over their attitude^ that a crisis
was inevitable. The American and British public were informed that
there was a serious conflict between the two Allied Governments. With
each succeeding day Moscow deliberately widened the scope of its cam-
* The Editor, The Nineteenth Century and After,, June, 1943.
" Poland, Russia and Great Britain " :—The Polish appeal to the International
Red Cross has at least drawn one categorical statement from the Russians, namely,
that these officers had fallen into the hands of the Germans near Smolensk in the
summer of 1941 . . . But if the Russian Government knew this to be so., why did
they not impart their knowledge to the Polish Government in response to the
repeated enquiries made in the second half of the year 1941 and at the beginning of
1942 ? And why was nothing known as to the fate of these officers from the time
they were last heard of (the spring of 1940) until the time (the summer of 1941)
the Germans, according to the Russian allegation, captured them ? Besides, it is
inconceivable that eight thousand;, three hundred officers, prisonersof-war in
Russian custody, could have been captured by the Germans without the knowledge
of the Russian authorities. If these officers had been captured by the enemy
there must have been some witnesses to the capture and they must at least have
been missed soon afterwards. It would have been easy for the Russian Govern-
ment, had they even suspected at the time, that the Polish officers had disappeared
in this way, to say so when the Polish-Russian Agreement was signed in 1941,
instead of saying that they had all been released from Russian internment camps,
so that Polish authorities counted on their arrival at any time.
Russia is accountable for the eight thousand, three hundred Polish officers.
But she has not been able to account for them except by the hitherto
assertion that they were murdered by the Germans.